The New Orleans Pelicans (36-26) remain incapable of losing. They extended their improbable winning streak to eight games with a dominant 126-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Anthony Davis did not go off for one of his monster nights as he had a mere mortal 23 points and 13 rebounds. However, he didn’t need to as he got a lot of help from his supporting cast.
Jrue Holiday remained in sizzling form as he went for a team-high 30 points and seven assists. Rajon Rondo just missed another triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds, and ten assists, while Nikola Mirotic had 24 points on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc as he got the start.
They now put that winning streak on the line against the Los Angeles Clippers (34-28), who survived a scare from the Brooklyn Nets to pull off a 123-120 win. The Clippers have now won four of their last five games and six of their last eight as they continue to keep pace for the No. 8 seed in the West.
Austin Rivers continued his sizzling form of late as he had 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Tobias Harris was perhaps even more impressive with 26 points (11-19 FG), eight rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. DeAndre Jordan dominated the Nets as expected with 17 points and 15 boards, while Lou Williams chipped in with his customary 21 points.
Three keys to the game
Anthony Davis - After going on a massive scoring binge recently, Davis has finally begun to fall back down to earth. He’s scored below 30 points in three of his last four games. He now faces a Clippers team he hasn’t topped 30 against in two meetings this season. But don’t count out the Brow, who seems capable of going off again if the team needs him to.
Backcourt battle - Holiday and Rondo have been in terrific form lately and have helped fuel the Pelicans’ winning streak. But Rivers and Williams have been equally as effective in powering the Clippers from the perimeter. It’ll be an intriguing matchup to see who among those in-form duos comes out on top.
Bench production - Speaking of Williams, he’s obviously pivotal to leading the Clips’ second unit. It’ll be on Mirotic, who’s likely going back to the bench in place of Okafor for this matchup, to provide that sort of scoring for the Pelicans.
Matchup to watch
Jrue Holiday vs Austin Rivers - These two backcourt maestros have been integral in their respective teams' impressive form since the All-Star break. It's pretty simple: whoever wins this head-to-head battle goes a long way to helping their team win the game.
Pelicans projected starting lineup
PG – Rajon Rondo | SG – Jrue Holiday | SF – E’Twaun Moore | PF – Anthony Davis | C – Emeka Okafor
Clippers projected starting lineup
PG – Milos Teodosic | SG – Austin Rivers | SF – Wesley Johnson | PF – Tobias Harris | C – DeAndre Jordan
While Davis has been on a tear fantasywise, Rondo and Holiday haven’t been too bad themselves. Rondo is averaging a very impressive 11.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 9.9 assists over his last eight games. Meanwhile, Holiday has scored 20 or more points in eight straight games and is putting up 28.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.4 assists on 57 percent shooting over his last five.
As for the Clippers, Rivers has been on a nice roll himself. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in his last ten games. DeAndre Jordan has also been pretty dominant to start the month, averaging 18.0 points, 17.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.0 steal. He had 12 points and 19 boards the last time he faced the Pelicans in January.
The Pelicans have sneakily been one of the best road teams in the league this season. They're 19-14, but an even more impressive 21-12 ATS. They have an extra gear with Davis capable of going off, so they should be favored to cover the three-point spread as road underdogs.
Davis and the Pelicans just about extend their streak as they upset the Clippers, 122-118.
This game will be broadcast nationally on TNT. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm Eastern.